The recent VGSA wins are a direct result of strong campaigning by AEU members. Thanks to your involvement in the development of our log of claims and your participation in campaign actions over the past two years, we have secured some significant wins.
Members asked for workload reduction – and at the top of the list was a reduction in face-to-face teaching hours. The new agreement introduces a one-and-a-half-hour reduction in teaching time – the first reduction in almost 35 years, and it comes with the allocation of $779 million in the recent state budget for 2,000 additional teachers to help ease the burden.
We have also achieved the quarantining of planning, preparation and assessment time within the 30 hours, with duties now determined by the teacher. While developing the log of claims, this was an issue that surfaced again and again – and was something the union was determined to see addressed.
Broadening of the definition of activities that attract time-in-lieu means members will be rightly compensated for participating in school activities outside of normal hours.
Another significant achievement is the establishment of a living wage for our lowest paid education support members, with the collapse of the current Range 1 and 2 to form a new Range 2. In addition to this, there are further increments for ES in Range 3 and Range 5.
There have been extensive revisions of the ES Dimensions of Work, so that from now on, ES staff are appropriately classified and properly paid for the important work they do.
There are fair and reasonable salary increases for all staff, comprised of an initial structural adjustment increase, plus two 1% increases each year, plus a payment of 1% of salary in December each year (position allowance) for the majority of staff. Building on this, the career structure has been altered so that it now rewards promotion with a minimum salary increase of 5%.
The re-introduction of Professional Practice Days (PPDs) is another important win, coinciding with the broadening of the definition of activities that attract time-in-lieu for teachers and ES. This means members will be rightly compensated for participation in structured school activities outside of normal hours.
The principal class has secured significant wage rises as a result of structural adjustments, annual increases, and position allowances for assistant principals. The department has also made a commitment to review and modernise the principal contract (schedule B) within six months of the commencement of the agreement. At a difficult time to be leading schools, given COVID and other ongoing pressures, this will help ease the workload for our principal class.
In other changes for school leaders, the VGSA now includes compulsory consultation in the form of workload assessments for any additional proposed demands from the department, along with extra resources for administrative tasks.
The benefits of the VGSA 2022 will be felt across the board in our schools. The AEU will be working closely with sub-branches and the department to implement the new clauses and ensure that all members get the most out of their workplace agreement.